Over 1,300 Ethiopian nationals have been expelled from Saudi Arabia after an quit notice and subsequent amnesty window expired. Saudi had earlier this year warned of a crackdown on persons illegally staying in the country.
An Ethiopian government official Demeke Atinafu told the state-affiliated FBC that the government was working with Saudi for safe return of its nationals. “The government is working with Saudi Arabia to safely return our citizens home.”
The large chunk of those deported – Ethiopians and other nationalities – are classified by the Gulf State as undocumented migrants living and illegally working in the country. The crackdown is said to have started earlier this week.
The issue of Ethiopian migrants has been at the fore of the Saudi eviction threat. Addis Ababa has entered series of agreements with Riyadh to facilitate return of nationals. The government secured exit visas for thousands but maintained that many more remained adamant to returning.
Saudi had said beside forced repatriation, it was also going to prosecute a number of the recalcitrant persons. Most Ethiopian women travel to the Gulf State to work as house helps in order to support families back home.
The Ethiopian government had gone as far as pay part of the air ticket for persons who were willing to return. It is believed that there are about 400,000 such persons out of which about 150,000 returned voluntarily.